Identification: Its huge size, pale grey plumage and distinctive shape distinguish it from all other birds. The adult is whiter on the neck than the juvenile and has longer black tufts hanging down its nape.
Habitat: Breeds in woodlands and plantations usually near rivers and estuaries. Winters along rivers, estuaries, lakes and marshes.
Distribution: A widely distributed and fairly common resident.
Widespread throughout much of Europe.
Population: The British population is estimated at 10 300 pairs, with 3 650 pairs in Ireland. As many as 30 000 birds are present over winter.
The European population is at least 117,000-128,000 pairs. Russian population 20000-25000 Turkish population 2000-5000